- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Greater Southeast Community Hospital administrators yesterday decided not to disclose their progress in meeting conditions of a D.C. Department of Health consent decree that will decide the troubled facility’s fate next month.

Two weeks ago, Greater Southeast administrators released a written statement announcing plans to update the public at least every other week on efforts to improve the hospital. The updates would coincide with regular progress reports submitted to the D.C. Department of Health, hospital officials said in the Aug. 18 statement.

However, administrators yesterday postponed their first update until Sept. 12.

“That kind of information should be coming from the Health Department,” said Ana Raley, a hospital consultant and former Greater Southeast administrator. “We just feel that the Health Department should be the ones putting that out there right now.”

Health Department officials declined to comment yesterday.

Under the consent decree between Greater Southeast and the Health Department, the hospital must improve in five areas by October — staffing, record keeping, power system equipment, maintenance, and emergency department operations.

Health officials have said they would close Greater Southeast, the District’s primary hospital for low-income residents, if administrators fail to meet the conditions of the decree. Miss Raley said the hospital would not make public the actual progress reports that it regularly submits to the Health Department.

“The Health Department has not made the reports public, but that’s not our decision,” Miss Raley said. “Generally speaking, the hospital has made a lot of progress, though.”

Meanwhile, administrators continue to give tours to prospective buyers.

The hospital is for sale after its owner, Doctors Community Healthcare Corp. of Scottsdale, Ariz., declared bankruptcy in November.

Despite serious setbacks in recent weeks, including Greater Southeast’s loss of accreditation and contracts with at least two health plans, administrators say they have been busy in recent weeks showing the hospital to potential buyers.

Administrators declined to identify the interested parties. “There is a lot of interest, but we’ll see who has their ducks in a row,” Miss Raley said.

Cain Brothers, a consulting and health care management firm based in New York, has been appointed to oversee the sale of Greater Southeast through bankruptcy proceedings.

“The process is working,” Thomas M. Barry, a principal in the firm, said yesterday. “A number of people are looking with a great deal of scrutiny.”

Depending on the bids, the hospital could remain in the hands of Doctors Community or be sold to an outside buyer, he said.

Creditors will weigh the various bids, as well as a reorganization plan that Doctors Community executives are expected to file next month, Mr. Barry said.

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